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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

284   TIGHTENING  FETTERS   OF  FINANCE

import of foreign securities, and in the present state
of our trade balance all imports, whether visible or
invisible, need careful watching. It is also very
evident that at a time when capital is scarce there
is much to be said for keeping it for essential in-
dustries, especially those which produce necessaries
and goods for export, and not allowing it to be swept
up by borrowers who are going to devote it to making
expensive fripperies on which big profits are probable.
There remains a very big other side to both these
questions. All over the world there is a demand
for goods which have not been produced, or only
in greatly reduced quantities, during the war.
This demand is only effective in so far as willing
buyers can pay; some of them have the needful
cash in hand or waiting in London or elsewhere
to be drawn on, but a great number of would-be
buyers want to be financed, and will have to be
financed by somebody if the needs that they feel
are to be translated into actual purchases. In
other words, in order that the wheels of industry
are to be set turning as fast as they might, if they
had a full chance, somebody has to lend freely.
Now, it is surely most of all important in the national
interest that those wheels shoulcl begin spinning as
fast as possible, and the question is whether we are
more likely to serve that interest best by keeping
a meticulous eye on the course of exchange and
buttoning up our pockets to foreign borrowers or
by leaving capital free to seek its market, knowing
that every time we give the foreigner the right to
draw on us we stimulate our export trade, because